Library Services


A student’s perspective of using Gale

12 April 2022

Rob Youngs Do Patrocinio, UCL student, writes about some of the archival materials available through Gale primary source collections.

Two users sat at coffee table, looking at a laptop

Rob, pictured, studies History and Politics of the Americas with languages including French, Portuguese and Spanish. His special interests include amplifying indigenous perspectives and researching marginalised communities across Central and Latin America, specifically involving people of colour.

Rob Youngs Do Patrocinio

He also works as a Gale Ambassador at UCL to increase awareness of the Gale primary source collections, helping students discover research insights to advance their learning and research. Gale is one of our major providers of online primary sources with millions of pages of content.

He writes about how the collections have supported his own research in two areas of study.

The Rasta’s Place in a Decolonised Curriculum

During the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of the global impact of the Black Lives Matter movement, societies across the western world have been challenged to rethink the way race-related topics and histories are presented, specifically in terms of decolonising the curriculum and advocating for a more pluralistic syllabus. As an ongoing phenomenon, the black experience has always been underrepresented and often disregarded so far as its importance in education, and is often highly controlled and regulated as an area of study. Traditional subject areas including Religious Education, Theology, History and Philosophy and Ethics would benefit from a wider range of modules to challenge the very normative structures which dominate the building blocks of our society, and introduce important new perspectives.

The esoteric knowledge preserved within the Rasta religion pertaining to the black experience is significant, similar to Vodou in Haiti, and Candomble in Brazil, which are also valuable areas of study. This is especially important in terms of eliminating stereotyping and racial bias, as often these religions are stigmatised and ridiculed due to a lack of knowledge. For instance, the primary source titled “Rasta Voice” that I came across in Gale Reference Complete highlights the Rasta voice and illuminates the puzzling complexities of navigating and approaching identity in the traumatic aftermath of slavery and subsequent black diaspora. The author Ikatar Yamani writes as a “black son still in chains” that a reoccurring idea present across Rastafari traditions is that, whilst rooted in slavery, the black struggle is no longer physical, but rather as an imprisonment of the mind in the context of the modern world.

A great deal more information on this topic and others can be found using Gale Reference Complete. Collections of primary sources such as these are crucial in unearthing these insightful and valuable voices.

Read the full blog post Unearthing and Decolonising the Rasta Voice

L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale de France

Gale’s rich and exciting archive collection L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque national de France, which is part of Gale’s Archives of Sexuality and Gender series, holds an impressive assortment of approximately 2400 printed works, published mostly in French. Enfer quite literally translates into English as “hell”. The name is remarkable and has certainly contributed to the collection’s historical infamy. When it was opened, the collection was classified and unavailable to the wider public due to its obscene and outlandish nature, and the perceived vulgarity of the content – but perhaps unsurprisingly this only roused interest and curiosity in the collection! Students of today will undoubtedly be equally curious to explore this historically “out of bounds” collection.

Read the full blog post L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale de France - A Student’s Perspective